Irish Republican News · October 3, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Adams seeks talks with Orange Order

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called for a face-to-face meeting with Orange Order Grand Master Robert Saulters.

The request came after it was revealed that Mr Adams had been in correspondence with the leader of the anti-Catholic marching organisation during the summer.

Mr Saulters told a meeting of his organisation’s governing body, the Grand Lodge, that he had replied to Mr Adams after receiving a written request for a meeting to discuss contentious Orange Order parades in nationalist areas.

However, Mr Adams last night repeated an offer of talks with Mr Saulters and other leading Orangemen.

He said he had written to express his party’s support for the right of the ‘Loyal Orders’ to march but also expressed Sinn Féin’s support for nationalist communities.

“It is and always has been the Sinn Féin position that the issue of parading can only be resolved through dialogue between the Loyal Orders and local communities,” he said.

In June Mr Adams met with Portadown Orangemen to discuss the Drumcree dispute but the move was criticised by the Grand Lodge.

“Sinn Féin supports the right of the Loyal Orders to organise and to hold parades and commemorations. However, where parades are contentious the right to march is conditional on agreement by local residents.

“For a number of years I have written to the Loyal Orders offering dialogue around the issue of contentious parades and about Orangeism and its place in modern Ireland. My meeting with Portadown Orangemen was part of this and was an informative and useful discussion.

“While Mr. Saulters acknowledged receipt of my letter and sent some literature, however he did not agree to meet. Consequently in a letter to him in late July I again suggested a meeting. I await his response to this request.

Orange Order sources were reported to have confirmed the communications between the men but said that a face-to-face meeting in the near future is unlikely.

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© 2008 Irish Republican News